Space-Based Solar Panels May Be Used for Energy-Saving Good or Catastrophic EvilS

A Californian power company is looking at launching giant, reflective solar panels into space to beam clean energy back to us on Earth. But the tech was originally designed for Bond-villain-like weather control.

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company, servicing northern California, has signed a contract with Californian-by-way-of-Armenia company Solaren for the latter to provide 200MW of energy with their space panels. The solar panels, possibly as large as a square kilometer, absorb solar energy and beam it back to Earth by converting it to radio waves, which will then be converted back to energy and fed into the power grid. It's a nice idea, since solar panels will be far more efficient without clouds and other junk to get in the way of the sun's rays, but the tech's original purpose was something quite different.

Satellites armed with solar panels were originally thought to have possible use in the control of weather systems. Yeah, you read that right. Space-controlled weather. The beams would be used to change the temperature or wind patterns of weather formations, thus lessening, or strengthening, natural events like hurricanes and rainstorms. This could be used to create a lovely microclimate for a wealthy city, or to rain down God's own fury onto one's enemies. Eep.

Solaren is confident in their solar energy strategy and hopes to start beaming down some juice within 7 years. They also insist that the radio waves will not be harmful to people, animals, crops, or even airplanes that pass through them, although we really just have to take their word for it at this point. Who knew green energy and super-villainy would mix so well? [The Guardian via BLDGBLOG]